First Mothers by Beverly Gherman

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We often encounter books about the wives of US presidents. We’ve seen a number of books about the presidents themselves. But what about the mothers of the presidents?

First Mothers by Beverly Gherman and Julie Downing (Clarion Books, 2012) finally puts the mothers’ stories at the forefront. With just one or two pages per mother, Gherman captures the personalities of the women who raised the people who would become president of the USA. The facts are interesting, relevant, and amusing. Julie Downing’s cartoon-like illustrations keep humor throughout the book as well, highlighting the humor of the mother’s stories.

Here are some facts I enjoyed learning.

  • George Washington’s mother was never proud of her son, even when he became president.
  • Martin Van Buren was raised above a tavern, where his mother worked hard. She did all she could so he would not live in poverty and work in a tavern as well.
  • Abe Lincoln’s mother and stepmother are both featured, as both influenced his life.
  • Ulysses S. Grant’s mother was terribly shy; she never went to the White House or her son’s inauguration.
  • Teddy Roosevelt’s mother died the same day as Teddy’s wife; the mother died of Typhoid fever and his wife died of kidney disease.
  • Dwight Eisenhower’s mother was a pacifist.

These are just a few facts. I also learned a lot about the mothers of the more recent presidents. This picture book is a great introduction to the presidents of the USA.

Reviewed on July 21, 2014

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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